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James Rodriguez Must Leave Real Madrid, Says Colombia Legend Carlos Valderrama

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistAugust 6, 2019

SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - JUNE 28: James Rodriguez of Colombia reacts during the Copa America Brazil 2019 quarterfinal match between Colombia and Chile at Arena Corinthians on June 28, 2019 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)
Buda Mendes/Getty Images

Colombia legend Carlos Valderrama has advised compatriot James Rodriguez to leave Real Madrid this summer because coach Zinedine Zidane "does not want him." 

Rodriguez, who turned 28 in July, recently returned to Real following a two-season loan at Bayern Munich, but Valderrama told Marca (h/t Football Espana) the star should head for the exit again:

"James? Let him go to another team because the coach does not want him.

"If he stays at Real Madrid he won't play; he starts from there. That's how things are...when James arrived, the fans had a party, the president made a party, but the coach does not want him now.

"The concern is that he will not play. If he stays at Real Madrid he will not play. Let him go on to better things, the one who decides on the lineup is the coach.

"With the quality he has he can play anywhere in the world."

The attacking midfielder stood a better chance of leaving before Marco Asensio suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury during a 2-2 draw against Arsenal on July 24:

B/R Football @brfootball

James Rodriguez will be staying at Real Madrid next season, reports @diarioas https://t.co/Lqu5KbLnWQ

Asensio looked likely to be one of Zidane's main wingers heading into the new season, while Gareth Bale's frosty relationship with the coach means his future remains in doubt.

Rodriguez is yet to make a pre-season appearance this summer and has been omitted from Real's matchday squad in each of their five friendlies thus far.

Sky Sports News reporter Kaveh Solhekol ridiculed Real's recent attempt to include Rodriguez in a deal for Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba:

Kaveh Solhekol @SkyKaveh

Manchester United have rejected Real Madrid bid of of £27m plus James Rodriguez for Paul Pogba. What do you think they're smoking over there at Bernabeu?

Valderrama holds Colombia's appearance record after earning 111 caps for his country over the course of a 13-year international career. He played a single season in Spain for Real Valladolid (1991-92).

Rodriguez's last appearance for Los Blancos came during a 2-0 league win over Malaga in May 2017. He made only 20 starts for Real during the 2016-17 campaign but scored 11 goals and recorded 12 assists.

Those statistics highlight his productivity at the Santiago Bernabeu despite speculation he's no longer wanted by Real. Goal posted his impressive numbers for the club in greater detail:

Goal @goal

James Rodriguez for Real Madrid ⚪️ 111 appearances 👕 36 goals ⚽️ 40 assists 🅰️ Champions League 🏆🏆 La Liga 🏆 FIFA Club World Cup 🏆🏆 UEFA Super Cup 🏆🏆 To be continued? 👀 https://t.co/0Jl8xqhvdd

Corriere dello Sport (h/t Marca) recently reported Marseille have joined Atletico Madrid and Napoli as suitors for Rodriguez, though the French club can't offer UEFA Champions League football this season.

Valderrama's comments suggest anywhere would be better than staying at Real if he's not wanted, with Zidane yet to show his playmaker much favour since he returned to Madrid.